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RE: Walking Kangarro (was The Cretaceous Middle-East

> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> dbensen
> Thank you, Jaime, for bringing some class to this thread.
> I agree with everything he said, but that bit at the end about Greg
> Bear's book (Dinosaur Summer, I think) brought back a memory.  In the
> book, there's a little mammal that looks like a kangaroo (bipedal), but
> walks like a dinosaur and doesn't jump.  In the author's note at the
> end, Mr. Bear said that he had baced the little animal on a real
> fossil.  Does anyone know to what fossil he was referring?

Bear was referring to _Lepticidium_ from the Eocene Messel of Germany.

During the 1980s it was interpreted as a bipedal striding running (like a
non-avian theropod), and indeed it plots morphometrically amongst theropods
on hindlimb proportion studies (e.g., Holtz 1995).  However, when that paper
was being reviewed, Hans Sues (then editor at JVP) indicated that a paper
was in the works that demonstrated that _Lepticidium_ was indeed a saltatory
(a hopper), rather than a strider.  I honestly never checked to see if that
paper came out, so if anyone has details, I'd be happy to hear them!

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796

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